Discovery, Research, and Testing

It’s common in our field to hear that we don’t get enough time to regularly practice all the types of research available to us, and that’s often true, given tight project deadlines and limited resources. But one form of user research–contextual inquiry–can be practiced regularly just by watching people use the things around them and…

“Above all else show the data.” –Edward Tufte Survey responses. Product reviews. Keyword searches. Forums. As UX practitioners, we commonly scour troves of qualitative data for customer insight. But can we go faster than line-by-line analysis? Moreover, how can we provide semantic analysis to project stakeholders? Enter Wordle. If you haven’t played with it yet,…

Does your company have display booths at trade shows and conferences? Typically, these are marketing-dominated efforts, but if you make the case to travel, working the booth can be used for user research. Here’s how I’ve done it. Positioning and justification At times it can be a hard internal sell to justify the costs and…

October 29th, 2013

Context matters

Using eye-tracking to test email marketing

What makes a marketing e-mail or newsletter efficient? One can judge, for instance, by the number of users that opened the message or clicked on a specified element representing primary action, such as a product link or button. Those indicators measure user engagement precisely; however, they are limited to the last phase of interaction with…

October 22nd, 2013

Clicking Fast and Slow

Heuristics, bias, and deliberation in interaction design

Through social psychology and cognitive science, we now know a great deal about our own frailties in the way that we seek, use, and understand information and data. On the web, user interface design may work to either exacerbate or counteract these biases. This article will give a brief overview of the science then look…

At the heart of design are the stories that give meaning to the work. Andrew Hinton meditates on what stories have taught him about information architecture and the people inhabiting the places he’s helped design.

September 27th, 2010

The Stranger’s Long Neck

Gerry McGovern discusses the importance of task management

In this B&A podcast, Jeff Parks speaks with Gerry McGovern about the thinking that went into his new book. They discuss customers as strangers, the Long Neck, and task management — how to deliver and
measure what your customers want.

December 23rd, 2009

Research Logistics

A Crash Course for Designers and Stakeholders

With technology touching ever more of our work lives, user research, in its many guises, becomes part of the project lifecycle. For those of us who want a better idea of what to expect when working with a researcher, Demetrius Madrigal sets our expectations.

December 5th, 2009

Tree Testing

A quick way to evaluate your IA

After hearing about Donna Spencer’s paper-based tree testing, Dave O’Brien and his colleagues were hooked, so much so that they built an online tool to allow you to effectively test a site hierarchy. Hear about the tree testing approach and see how O’Brien’s tool works.

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